Career Start – Leadership

Leadership is usually defined as the ability to influence people towards a definite and positive goal. It is usually mistaken for a position but it is more of a personality, which then takes people to the position. To have a leadership position without a leadership personality will make a mess of you, and when you lose the position (which you will), you will lose the influence.
As a career starter, it is important you begin with a leadership mindset and personality, mainly because most of your contemporaries will not! Here are a few tips that are characteristic of the leadership personality; guaranteed to lift you and stand you out in the workplace:
This is the most critical part of leadership. In Stephen R. Covey’s book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ the first tip is to ‘begin with the end in mind’. Leaders make decisions based on vision and not emotions. The longer the time you put in perspective in doing things, you better your decisions, and the more people are inclined to following you. How far do you want to go in your career? How long do you want to be an employee? What career path do you really want to pursue?
So, there are 10 of you on the same level and in the same department, what stands you out is innovation. To innovate is simply to come up with better and faster solutions to satisfy customers (internal and external). To achieve this, you must first understand the core of what you are doing and then ask questions. It is always good to know the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’, because that is where innovation comes from.
Most people stop developing when they get out of school and that reduces their chances of attaining leadership. To get to the top and become an influencer, you must keep learning and gaining new and relevant information. You must have heard before that readers are leaders; always seek to know more than is expected of your level and you will stand out. Self-development also increases capacity; keep learning so your regular tasks become too easy for you and you can take on more.
Emotional Intelligence
This is all about knowing how to connect with different kinds of people from different cultures. Some call it politics but it’s not; as long as you are not trying to beat down anyone. In climbing up ladders in organizations, more attention is paid to your people skills than your technical skills. John C. Maxwell wrote a book titled ‘Winning with People’, and it would be good to pick a copy and read. Always remember that when your promotion is being discussed, you’ll never be there; it is how people feel about you that would speak for or against you.
Hard work
Truth is –hard work can never be avoided, it can only be postponed. Leaders realize this quickly and they work hard and smart to get ahead. You have to be highly dependable to your bosses, work your socks off to get the job done; perspiration outweighs inspiration any day! It is popularly said that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. Lazy people don’t become leaders, and if they do, they would not command respect!
Thinking for the Boss
This is one area in which people fail a lot! The major difference between a low level staff and a higher level staff is usually in the amount of information available to them and in their perspective. You must learn to think bottom line! Think beyond your salary, imagine yourself as the head of the whole place; thinking like that accelerates your progression on the ladder.
Thinking this way does not mean you should try usurping your boss; in fact, the first law in Robert Greene’s ’48 laws of power’ is “Never outshine your master”. You do great stuff for your boss and let him take the shine, the leader doesn’t go for the shine, he goes for the success.
Looking the part
Your dressing, carriage, poise, language and manners should stand you out. Dress one step ahead of your level, and carry yourself like you are already where you want to be. Your language and behaviour should be decent and top people must have no problems identifying with you. People will see you before they hear you so you must put up a decent appearance, polish your grammar. Be simple though, don’t pretend too.

Tags: No tags

Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *